Save the date: Arizona Restaurant Week is 2 months away

It’s hard to believe we’re closer to the end of our busy season here in Phoenix than the beginning. In the next month spring training fans and winter visitors will head home to wait out the hot Arizona spring and summer. Restaurants will cut back their hours of operation and food festivals will go on hiatus for a few months. Don’t worry foodies we still have 10 days in May of Arizona Restaurant Week to look forward to. Save the date of Friday May 17th – Sunday May 26th and make your reservations soon.

save the date
Oysters at Buck & Rider

Arizona Restaurant Week is when many local restaurants entice new and returning customers with unique 3 course prix-fixe tasting menus for $33 or $44. It’s a great reason to visit a new restaurant or favorite one.

“Arizona Restaurant Week has become one of the most popular dining events in the state,” says Arizona Restaurant Association president and CEO, Steve Chucri. “We are proud to have a hand in sharing our state’s culinary chops with residents and visitors alike, and give our local restaurants a platform to showcase their amazing talents through a fun and creative outlet.”

Many Phoenix restaurants participate as well as restaurants from around the state including Tucson and Flagstaff. Restaurants are being added daily to the list as are their menus being submitted. Here is a short list of a restaurants participating.

Prado

Elements

Hearth 61

Mother Bunch Brewing Co.

Roaring Fork

The Keg Steakhouse + Bar

The Melting Pot

Four Peaks Brewing Company

Dorian

Thirsty Lion Gastropub

The Canal Club

Buck & Rider

Save the date
Dessert at Dorian

If you’re a long-range planner save the date of September 20th – 29th 2019 as Fall Arizona Restaurant Week has been announced.

To keep up to date of restaurants and their menus visit http://arizonarestaurantweek.com/

Tiki bar and restaurant Drunk Munk to open where Cowboy Ciao was

Colorful cocktails with tiny umbrellas and hula skirts will take over the space where Cowboy Ciao was when the Drunk Munk opens in March. The iconic Cowboy Ciao closed last year after 21 years. Owners Greg Donally, Andrew Nam and Scott Hane have experience with Scottsdale restaurants as they own Geisha A Go Go and have owned bars and restaurants including Drift Lounge in downtown Scottsdale.

“We are excited to bring something new and different like Drunk Munk to Scottsdale,” said co-owner Donnally. “The dishes on the menu will transport you across Asia and up the beaches of Mexico. Who knows, you could even see some old favorites from a former concept we had in Old Town, the well-known Drift Lounge.”

Drunk Munk eats

Tiki themed cocktails and dishes such as flaming pu pu platter, sushi along with Asian inspired small plates, salads and sandwiches will be served.

Happy hour will be offered everyday and brunch will be served on weekends. Brunch items will include Red Velvet waffles and a different style of Eggs Benedict and Bloody Mary’s.

The 4,600 square foot restaurant is currently under going renovations to a Polynesian theme. When finished it will accommodate 150 people in the main dining area and 50 on the patio. The Idol of Worship from Drift is known to bless guests with his presence will be at the Drunk Munk.

“We are grateful to have the chance at opening in such a stable restaurant location like Cowboy Ciao. To occupy a property owned by the Unger family, we truly feel the tiki gods have made this happen. Peter was so far ahead of his time in 1997 when it opened,” said Donnally.

The Drunk Munk will be at 7133 E. Stetson Dr. Scottsdale 85251. For information visit their website.

A Taste of Mount Veeder coming to Scottsdale in March

We all remember our first love, first car and first winery we visited right. I remember the first two but the wine geek in me remembers visiting Hess Collection Winery on Mount Veeder in 1997. It was the first winery I had ever visited early in my wine career. Hess Collection will be one of 11 wineries pouring their wines at “A Taste of Mount Veeder” on Saturday March 2nd. The tasting will be at Troon Country Club from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

About Mount Veeder

The Mount Veeder appellation is part of the Mayacamas range on the western side of Napa Valley. It borders Sonoma County to the west and the Carneros appellation to the south. From vineyards a top the mountain on a clear day you can see San Francisco to the south as I did from Rubisow-Sargent’s vineyards on another visit to Napa Valley.

Grapes at Paratus Vineyards. All photos courtesy of Mount Veeder Appellation

In 1993 it was designated an American Viticultural Area(AVA) and covers 16,000 acres with only 1,000 acres under vine. Cabernet Sauvignon makes up 64% of grapes grown. Mount Veeder represents 1.3% of wine production in Napa Valley.

It was the first AVA to grow Petit Verdot, have all 5 Bordeaux varietals planted at one vineyard and produce a wine with all 5 Bordeaux varietals.

Wineries participating

This will be a unique opportunity to taste these wines in one place as some of the wineries are not open to the public. Participating wineries will be…..

Boich Family Cellar
Brandlin
The Hess Collection Winery
Lagier Meredith
Marketta Winery
O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery
Progeny
Random Ridge
Robert Craig Winery
Rudd Estate Winery
Sky Vineyards
Yates Family Vineyards

Find wines that you like and you’ll be able to order them for your collection. Tickets are $75 in advance and include gourmet hor d’oeuvres. Tickets will be $100 at the door. To purchase tickets visit their website or call 707-266-1296 before they sell out.

Troon Country Club is at 25000 N. Windy Walk Dr. Scottsdale 85255.

The Phoenician Tavern to attract resort guests and locals when it opens

What was once Relish Burger Bistro at The Phoenician Resort transforms into The Phoenician Tavern this spring. The new restaurant and bar will offer guests a relaxed atmosphere and a stunning view of the resorts golf course. When The Phoenician Tavern opens it will be part of  the final phase of the properties three-year multi-million dollar re-model.

The new restaurant and bar will be attractive to resort guests and locals with its comfortable and contemporary design.

“It’s a friendly, traditional, tavern-style ambiance, where you can catch the game or enjoy a beer with your neighbors, but it also happens to have some of the most stunning views around,” said The Phoenician’s Director of Food & Beverage Lisa Mercer.

The Phoenican Tavern
All photos courtesy of Awe Collective

The Phoenician Tavern menu

Chef de Cuisine Michael Press has created a menu of “pub grub” favorites with ingredients of the highest quality at the AAA Five Diamond resort. Gourmet burgers, fish & chips, appetizers and more will be available for lunch, happy hour and dinner.

12 regional craft beers will be on tap along with almost 50 canned and bottled beers. Signature cocktails including The Blueberry Manhattan, Blood Orange Martini and more will also be available.

Win Happy Hour for a year

Before the tavern opens 100 locals will be picked to win a custom key for happy hour pricing for a year. A Sunday Funday prize pack will also be up grabs. Included will be a round of golf for 2, happy and dinner and an overnight stay at the resort. To enter both giveaways and more information head to https://www.thephoeniciantavern.com/

The Phoenician Resort is at 6000 E. Camelback Rd. Scottsdale 85251.

 

 

 

 

Huss Brewing’s CenPho Citrus IPA brewed with locally donated fruit

Huss Brewing Co. is accepting locally grown citrus for their up-coming seasonal bottling, CenPho Citrus IPA. Central Phoenix (CenPho) residents are invited to drop off citrus from their trees in exchange for two pints of the new beer when released. Drop off your citrus by January 14th 2019 at Huss’s Taproom in Uptown Plaza.

Huss employees will be accepting donations and giving certificates until enough citrus is collected for brewing.

CenPho Citrus IPA

The beer will make it’s debut on Feb. 9th at the Arizona Strong Beer Festival then around central Phoenix. Those that donated citrus and received a certificate can cash in for 2 pints on Feb. 16th at Huss’s Citrus Festival at the Uptown Taproom.

The craft beer will be poured at local hangouts and community events around central Phoenix including.

2/9 – AZ Strong Beer Festival

2/10 – Willo Neighborhood Home Tour Beer Garden

2/11 – AZ Beer Week (variety of CenPho bars, restaurants and neighborhood stores)

2/16 – Citrus Fest at Huss Brewing Co. Taproom at Uptown Plaza

2/24 – Coronado Neighborhood Home Tour Beer Garden

3/2 – Melrose Neighborhood M7 Street Festival (inside the Huss Brewing Co. Beer Garden)

Central Phoenix citrus

The beer is celebrating Huss Brewing and central Phoenix State Rep. Laura Pastor helping to create Arizona’s first experimental citrus trees. Imported from California the trees are planted on the Orangewood estate of William J. Murphy at 7514 N. Central Ave. Murphy built the Arizona Canal and founded numerous Phoenix and Glendale neighborhoods.

“We love to incorporate as many local ingredients as possible, and citrus is such a great flavor for a fresh seasonal beer,” says Leah Huss, who owns Huss Brewing Co. with her husband Jeff. “So as soon as we met Councilwoman Pastor and heard about the deep citrus roots in the historic neighborhoods surrounding our Uptown Taproom, we knew this was the perfect way to, literally, share a beer with our neighbors.”

Visit their website for more information and drop off citrus at 100 E. Camelback Rd.

 

 

 

 

FREE food as Thai Chili 2 Go opens its first Phoenix location

Local fast casual Thai Chili 2 Go is off to a quick start in the new year as they race to open their first of several Phoenix restaurants Jan. 5th 2019. It’s the seventh location for the popular restaurant and will open at 2750 W. Dove Valley Rd. Phoenix Suite 180.

For the grand opening on the 5th, the first 100 people will get a FREE entree and dumplings. Drunken Noodles, Pad Thai and Red Curry are popular dishes to choose from.

“It’s been a great pleasure to watch the success of our East Valley locations, and now we’re recognizing and answering the demand for traditional and delicious Thai food in the north valley market as well,” says Owner Akshat Sethi. “We began our expansion into this area with our Scottsdale location in the Promenade and are thrilled to see that this market continues to support the need for more Thai Chili 2 Go locations.”

Through Jan. 31st guests get a FREE dumpling appetizer with entrée purchase and get 2nd entrée at 50% off. All locations are open daily from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Thai Chili 2 Go offers dine-in, to-go, delivery via UberEats, DoorDash, GrubHub. Find a location near you and orders can be placed here.

 

Casa Terra will be Arizona’s first vegan fine dining restaurant

Arizona restaurants don’t lack for diversity with many ethnic and specialty foods and restaurants available. With fine dining restaurants dwindling Casa Terra will bring vegan fine dining to the forefront when it opens in January 2019. Well known vegan chef and author Jason Wyrick opens Arizona’s first vegan fine dining restaurant in downtown Glendale.

Shishito peppers

Wyrick’s menu will be plant-based regionally focused Mexican and Mediterranean fare with a fusion twist. His food preparation will include classic and modern cooking techniques offering flavorful meals appealing to all.

Purple Sweet Potato. All photos courtesy of Ampersand PR

According to Wyrick, “I’ve done a lot in my career as a chef, and the one thing that truly inspires me is exploring vegan cuisine and sharing it with people. For the past decade, I’ve had countless requests to open a restaurant. I’ve realized for a while that despite being one of the largest cities in the country with a burgeoning food scene, Phoenix doesn’t have a plant forward fine dining restaurant, and we need one. Casa Terra had to be the next step in my culinary journey.”

The menu at Casa Terra

Wyrick will serve only dinner with his seasonal menu of small plates, wood fired pizzas and sharable entrees. Because of the wide variety of choices Casa Terra offers Wyrick encourages exploring a variety of dishes. The exhibition kitchen will offer guests a glimpse of the food preparation. A few of the dishes include….

Appetizers

·      Charred Padrón Peppers: Calabrian chile caramel, candied ginger, sesame seeds, and Aleppo chiles.
·      Jicama Crudo: escabeche, avocado puree, orange segments, garlic chips, lemon zest, sea salt, and basil-chile oil.
·      Tapas Tacos: handmade tortillas, pibil mushrooms, shredded smoked seitan, and almond and chile de arbol salsa.

Thin crust wood fired pizza

·      Margherita: marinara, mozzarella, local olive oil, local basil and cracked pepper.
·      Salted Agave and Local Apple: fleur de sel, Aleppo chile, salted ricotta, pomegranate seeds, and herbs.
·      Carnitas with Mojo Pepita Sauce: almond queso fresco ricotta, tequila shallots, and chile threads.

Hearty entrees

·      Smoked Mushroom Cazuela: trumpet and oyster mushrooms in a cazuela, arroz, split peas, apples, garlic chips, cippolini pico and mole amarillo.
·      Saffron Chorizo Risotto: Nicoise olives, stewed peppers, asparagus, gold leaf, yerba buena.
·      Housemade Gnocchi: sweet potato, Merguez sausage, and preserved lemon pesto.

Desserts

·      Coconut Flan with Mezcal-Apricot Preserves: citrus zest, mole negro and candied pine nuts.
·      House Churros: piloncillo cajeta, spicy pecans, and bourbon-vanilla ice cream.
·      Mexican Chocolate Torte: espresso ganache, gold leaf, spiked cream and raspberry coulis.

Jicama Crudo

Fun and creative cocktails will be offered as will a thoughtfully prepared wine list for pairing with your meal.

Casa Terra will be open Sun. – Thurs. from 4-9 p.m. and Fri. & Sat. from 4-11 p.m. and will be at 6835 N. 58th Dr. Glendale 85301. (623)680-7468. For more visit their website.

Agave del Scottsdale takes over former Butters space

A new upscale Mexican restaurant, Agave del Scottsdale will open in early 2019 at Mercado del Lago Plaza in Scottsdale. The authentic Mexican restaurant takes over the space vacated by Butters Restaurant at Via de Ventura and Hayden Rd.

Because the owners families have roots in Yucatan, Mazalan, Puebla and Veracruz regions of Mexico and the menu will reflect their unique cuisines. The executive chef is moving to Scottsdale from Mexico City to over see the kitchen and culinary team.

Tequila & chaser. All photos courtesy of Agave del Scottsdale and Evolve Public Relations and Marketing

Fresh seafood, made from scratch moles, tacos along with made to order guacamole are a few of the dishes. Bartenders will make hand crafted cocktails and a variety of mezcal and tequila will be noticeable at the bar.

“We are excited to bring Agave del Scottsdale to the community and share what we are passionate about – genuine Mexican food, diverse tequila, refined hospitality and entertainment,” said Hector Soto, general manager of Agave del Scottsdale.

The 4,000 square foot space will be renovated with vibrant colors, white marble and wooden tables. An exhibition kitchen, open air dining room, outdoor patio and indoor & outdoor bar will offer guests privacy or the ability to dine and socialize.

The restaurant will hire 50-80 employees in the weeks ahead and information can be found on their website.

Once opened Agave del Scottsdale will be served lunch and dinner Mon. – Fri from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. On weekends they will open at 7 a.m. and stay open til 10 p.m. and 9 p.m. respectively. During the week the restaurant will offer an exciting happy hour.

 

 

Ocean 44 to open near Scottsdale Fashion Square

The family behind Steak 44 and Dominick’s Steakhouse are putting the final touches on their newest restaurant, Ocean 44. The restaurant will open the first week of December. Guests familiar with the Mastro family restaurants will enjoy another first class dining experience. The restaurant is on Goldwater Boulevard just across from Scottsdale Fashion Square where Harkins Camelview Theater used to stand.“We are so excited to be opening Ocean 44 this fall and bringing our world-class seafood experience to the Valley,” said Jeff Mastro, founder and partner of Prime Steak Concepts. “Ocean 44 will keep the tradition of intimacy and the upscale vibe of our Steak 44, while giving our guests an exciting coastal feel.”

The Ocean 44 menu

Chef Siegfried Hohaus will oversee the kitchen and created a unique menu with Chief Executive Chef Mark Lupino. The menus seafood is of the highest grade and from sustainable sources coming from around the world. Since Chef Hohaus helped open Mastro’s Ocean Club they felt he would be a good fit at Ocean 44. The Mastro’s sold the Ocean Club in 2007.

All photos courtesy of Rose, Moser & Allyn PR and Ocean 44

An abundant a la carte menu will include great steaks along with non-traditional seafood dishes. Dishes include Heirloom Tomato Crab Stack, Smoked Salmon Hash Brown Pizza, Lobster Bake, wood roasted shellfish and Colossal Shrimp Cocktail.

“This is different than anything we have done in the past, the atmosphere is second to none, featuring a blend of dining settings ranging from dramatic to intimate. At the core of the Ocean 44 experience is our chef sourced, highest graded sustainable fresh seafood from around from the world, enhanced with unique and interesting appetizers and side dishes that go beyond the traditional seafood menu,” said Mastro.

The restaurant

The Testani Design Troupe designed the 12,000 square foot restaurant. Guests will be able to view the culinary team in action through the glass expo kitchen with nearby seating. The restaurant will offer several dining areas whether you prefer the main dining floor, two dining bars or private dining rooms.

The Mastro’s have a reputation for serving the highest quality food with luxury personal service in an upscale atmosphere.

Ocean 44 will serve only dinner and the menu and more information can be found here.

Varsity Tavern opens on Mill Ave. for food, fun and drinks.

Texas-based Reign Group is about to open their second concept this year along Tempe’s Mill Ave. When the Varsity Tavern opens in early December it will be located upstairs from Rodeo Ranch which opened in August.

Varsity Tavern will offer a dine, drink and play atmosphere both day and night with over 8,000 square feet of fun. A wrap around balcony will offer guests a great view of Mill Ave., Sun Devil Stadium and the sunset.

“With Varsity Tavern, we’re pushing the dining and entertainment limits on Mill. Ave.” says Josh Regan, co-owner of Reign Group. “We fully expect these concepts help Mill Ave. become an undisputed epicenter of the dine-drink-play movement in the valley” says Reagan.

Shrimp and Pasta. All photos courtesy of Duality PR & Varsity Tavern

Dine

Executive chef Albert Hernandez is no stranger to the Mill Ave. dining scene as he was the executive chef at Monti’s La Casa Vieja. The menu is inspired by James Beard award-winning chef Robert McGrath who helped Hernandez create the Texas style food with an Arizona twist.

The menu includes unique dishes such as Pot Roast sliders, Meat Toothpicks with Chimichurri & mashed potatoes and the Sloppiest Of Jospeh’s on an Onion Roll. Brunch will be served on Sundays and Mondays and offer Potted Huevos Rancheros, Big Benny and Bananas Foster french Toast.

Drink

Guests can expect a wide range of cocktails, craft beers and wine at Varsity Tavern. Whether it’s a Bloody Mary at Sunday brunch or bottle service on a Friday night all will quench people’s thirst.

A full-time craft cocktail artist is on staff and has created cocktails such as Spicy Margarita and Blueberry Mojito.

Play at Varsity Tavern

The sports bar turned nightclub atmosphere will offer DJ spinning most nights and hi-def television’s for sports fans. Nightly promotions will offer Gold Fish Races on Monday’s and Bada Bingo on Wednesday’s. A lively Happy Hour also happens on a regular basis.

Varsity Tavern is on the southeast corner of Mill Ave. & 5th St. Hours are Mon. – Wed. 11 a.m. – midnight, Thurs. & Fri 11 a.m. – 2 a.m., Sat 10:30 a.m. – 2 a.m. and Sun. 10:30 a.m. – midnight. For more information visit their website.